President Goodluck Jonathan has called on Nigerians to have only as many children as they can afford and backed wider use of birth control measures.
Previous efforts to encourage adults in Nigeria have not been successful, and the UN says Africa’s most populous country could see its population rise further from 160 million to 400 million by 2050, according to the BBC.
The president, who made the comments in an address to the board of Nigeria’s National Population Commission in the city of Abuja late Tuesday, said uneducated Nigerians were having too many children, and added that government polices to tackle the number of births might be an option in the future, Nigeria’s Daily Times reported.
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According to the Agence France Presse, Jonathan acknowledged that birth issue could be a contentious issue, noting: "We are extremely religious people... It is a very sensitive thing."
"Both Christians and Muslims, and even traditionalist and all the other religions, believe that children are God's gifts to man. So it is difficult for you to tell any Nigerian to number their children because... it is not expected to reject God's gifts," he added.
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